Springmeyer Brothers – Partners to John Henry Belter
Ever see a piece of furniture in the Renaissance Revival style with J. H. Belter’s name on it? I hadn’t until I saw this piece coming up for sale at Martin Auction Co. in Anna, IL. As most of you know, the Belter name is far more associated with the Rococo Revival than this style of furniture. The additional presence of the Springmeyer Brothers name on the stencil on this dresser provides a look into a slice of time immediately following Belter’s death and what the company produced after his direct association with J.H. Belter and Company ended.
History is sketchy, but from what I have gleaned from a few sources, Belter’s brother-in-law J.H. Springmeyer was listed in city directories as a furniture dealer after 1856 and became Belter’s partner. 1856 is the same year that Belter’s business name started having the word, “Company” following it, the same year his bedstead patent was issued and the same year he moved from 547 to 522 Broadway. Springmeyer’s cabinetmaker brothers joined the Belter business as partners around that time as well.
Belter became ill around 1863 and shortly after putting his will together, he died. According to the Magazine Antiques, September 1948 issue, the company continued under the J.H. Belter and Co. name until 1867 when the company went bankrupt. Artfact, however, states that the company name changed to Springmeyer Brothers in 1865. The three Springmeyer brothers continued on as cabinetmakers in 1868 after the bankruptcy, but the business was soon sold to Blesson and Bolrath for $20,500.
That can only mean that this dresser would have been made between 1863 and 1867, since the label says “Late J.H. Belter”. More research would need to be done to see when this particular incarnation of their furniture stencils with both the Springmeyer and “Late” Belter names existed. I have read of other stencil versions referring to the company as “Springmeyer Brothers, Successors to J.H. Belter and Company”.
Nonetheless, it is an eye-opener to see Belter’s Company name on a piece of Renaissance Revival furniture.
Thanks to 1881Victorian in the forum for pointing it out and Martin Auction for sharing the larger images with us.